I didn’t realize The Real Tuesday Weld‘s album, I, Lucifer, was a soundtrack to a novel. I discovered this while looking up the spoken words to the short introductory track, “It’s a Dirty Job But Somebody’s Got To Do It.”
I never really wanted this job…
But look at it from my point of view
You know the routine
You’ve broken up
CDs divvied and boxed
Cuddly toy drawn and quartered
Doesn’t matter that I felt lousy
Doesn’t matter that I realised I might have been a tad hasty
Doesn’t matter that I would have been willing to turn over a new leaf
You don’t rise again
Some sources say “lazy” instead of “lousy,” but finding the book in Google Books helped clarify things:
I never really wanted this job. (As all dictators whine.) Trouble was, when we found ourselves in Hell everyone looked at me. (How to describe Hell? Disembowelled landscape busy with suffering incessant heat, permanent scarlet twilight, a swirling snowfall of ash, the stink of pain and the din of… if only. Hell is two thing: the absence of God and the presence of time. Infinite variations on that theme. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Well, trust me.)
I didn’t want the job — the job, that is, of spending all that would remain of time working against God, the job of personifying evil — but look at it from my point of view: as far as Himself’s concerned it’s over between us. No conciliatory cappuccinos under the fat waiter’s benevolent presidency. No Relate. No saw this and thought of you, Love, Lucifer cards. You know the routine. You’ve Broken Up, yes? Locks changed, CDs divvied and boxed, ring returned, cuddly toy drawn and quartered?
Doesn’t matter that I felt lousy. Doesn’t matter that I realised I might have been a tad hasty. Doesn’t matter that I would have been willing (we all would) to turn over a new leaf. Doesn’t matter. You’re an angel, you fall, you don’t rise again, the end.
“Dirty Job” segues seamlessly into “Bathtime in Clerkenwell,” making this one of my favorite album openers ever.
Now weâ€™ve released a new album and a couple of new videos. But the fans and bloggers who helped spread â€œHere It Goes Againâ€ across the Internet can no longer do what they did before, because our record company has blocked them from embedding our video on their sites. Believe it or not, in the four years since our treadmill dance got such attention, YouTube and EMI have actually made it harder to share our videos.
But this isnâ€™t how the Internet works. Viral content doesnâ€™t spread just from primary sources like YouTube or Flickr. Blogs, Web sites and video aggregators serve as cultural curators, daily collecting the items that will interest their audiences the most. By ignoring the power of these tastemakers, our record company is cutting off its nose to spite its face.
The numbers are shocking: When EMI disabled the embedding feature, views of our treadmill video dropped 90 percent, from about 10,000 per day to just over 1,000. Our last royalty statement from the label, which covered six months of streams, shows a whopping $27.77 credit to our account.
And there is much more good stuff in the article, but I don’t want to “take” more than my fair use quote from the NYT, so you can read the whole thing there.
The Bird Song
Which leads me to the “Bird Song.” This is what my daughter calls the music video for “Bathtime in Clerkenwell,” by The Real Tuesday Weld.
I first encountered this band and video in late 2008 at the web site of Dave Winer. (More accurately — and aptly for Dave, “the father of RSS” — I would have found this in my feed reader.) He gave it no introduction other than the post title of “Bathtime in Clerkenwell.” There was just an embedded YouTube video. The black and white still image of a cartoon bird caught my eye, I clicked on the play button, and I instantly loved the wonderful absurdity of the animation and the nonsense vocals. I followed the trail back to The Real Tuesday Weld’s official YouTube channel and found other great videos there, including “Kix.”
In turn, I published a couple of posts embedding the Clerkenwell video and others, to which at least one person enjoyed them enough to comment on, and I hope I might have spread the word to a few others as well.
Fast forward to November of 2009 when I was doing some maintenance on my site and noticed that embedding had been disabled for both the Clerkenwell video and for Kix. Not that my old posts were getting traffic anymore, but I like things to be current and functional, so it was an annoyance.
And it was perplexing. Why make it harder to share this stuff? It’s out on the Internet already, why not make it as convenient as possible for people to view it? Had Dave not embedded the video on his site, there is a good chance I wouldn’t have followed a link back to YouTube to see it there. But since I was already scanning his feed, it was easy to try.
I updated my posts with notes about the dis-embedding and encouraged people to make the trip to YouTube to check out the videos. It was worth all that effort of clicking on the link, I figured.
Get Off My Lawn
Now fast forward to this month, and when I visit the official YouTube page for “Bathtime in Clerkenwell,” I get: “This video contains content from UMG. It is no longer available in your country.”
I guess one promotional theory is that it’s a good idea to hide things under a rock.
Or, maybe it would be better to see the videos as advertisements. As seeds. Planted out there on the Internet and eventually bearing fruit. For example: Despite this foolishness, I’ve recently purchased three albums by these guys. I love the music. But I might not ever have found it without embedding and easy sharing.
Thank you, Stephen Coates. I’m enjoying your art. I would have embedded at least one video with this post to try sharing the love forward, but your business partners don’t want me to do that.
Update, 15 March 2010: And now the word can be spread! For today, anyway. Our voice has been heard.
(Doh! Embedding is disabled as of 29 November 2009. And as of 15 March 2010 I’m updating with a new embeddable version. Hopefully this one keeps working for a while.)
Love the music and the video. This one has nine people listed for the animation. (Previous was by Aleksey Budovsky.) I don’t know what it is about these videos. They’re just so whimsical and strange and fun.
(Bummer. Embedding disabled as of 29 November 2009. No, wait: as of 15 March 2010, there’s a new embeddable version. We’ll see how long that lasts. And you might have to watch a short ad first, but it’s totally worth it.)
It’s so delightfully weird.
(I think by 30 seconds in, you’ll either be hooked or can safely dismiss it.)
(Update: Should note that The Real Tuesday Weld is a band led by Stephen Coates. And the animation is by Alexsey Budovsky.)